SAN DIEGO — Three Somali immigrants — an imam, a cabdriver and an employee of a money transmitting business — were sentenced Monday to federal prison for aiding a terrorist group in their homeland.

Basaaly Saeed Moalin, 36, the cabdriver, was sentenced to 18 years. Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, 41, the imam, was sentenced to 13 years. Issa Doreh, 56, the employee of the money transmitting business, was sentenced to 10 years.

The three were convicted of a conspiracy to send money from San Diego to Somalia to help al-Shabaab, termed by the U.S. government as a terrorist group linked with Al Qaeda attempting to topple the shaky governments in Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere.

Moalin received the longest sentence, according to U.S. District Judge Judith Miller, because he attempted to not only send money to the group but also to provide a house in Mogadishu to terrorist leader Aden Hashi Ayrow.

In an intercepted telephone conservation played during the trial, Ayrow told Moalin to send money "to finance the jihad."

In another conversation, Ayrow scolded Moalin for being slow, "You are running late with the stuff. Send some (money) and something will happen."

Ayrow was killed by a U.S. strike in 2008.

A fourth co-defendant, Ahmed Nasiri Taalil Mohamud, also a cabdriver, is to be sentenced Jan. 31.

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